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Horror Hippies

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"Now, open your heart, and let my music guide you... into the world of everlasting peace... and rot. And Hell!"
Mariska, The Queen of Psychedelia, Lollipop Chainsaw

The general interpretation of the hippie movement often borrows heavily from various sources from the Flower Power movement and John Lennon. Pacifism, free love, multiculturalism, and tie dye in the face of authoritarian conformity. "Make Love, Not War". What pop culture tends to forget was that the hippies were a counterculture movement. There was a lot of activism going on, and not all of it was sitars and sit-ins. People got hurt, people died, and everyone with a political incentive against them would latch onto these "indiscretions" and milk them for all they were worth. Pop culture would take the negative stereotypes that were spread and would demonize hippies, creating various evil examples in fiction.

Horror Hippies often spawn from communes, many of their bad ideas swimming in a petri-dish of brain-cooking narcotics until they turn from quaint little clubs to horrifying cults, all under the service of a charismatic sociopath that would lead them to revolution. This "revolution" usually involves kidnapping innocent people, rape, murder, torture, and Insane Troll Logic brought to boil by a Warhol Factory's worth of mind-bending drugs.


Many examples of the trope borrow heavily from Charles Manson and the Manson Family's involvement in the Tate-LaBianca Murders, the various characters being Expies and Stock Parodies of them and the event that made them so infamous.

Compare Animal Wrongs Group, Folk Horror and Hillbilly Horrors. Contrast Hippie Teacher and New-Age Retro Hippie. Often involves Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll.


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    Comic Books 
  • One of the early threats DV8 fought was The Twist, a small superpowered cult-family run by a Charles Manson expy called Menlove, who pushed his young, impressionable charges to commit subversive crimes For the Evulz. Further investigation revealed that Menlove was actually a former International Operations instructor who got kicked out for molesting one of his charges... who turned out to be Bliss, who promptly killed him after realizing that he was her abuser all those years ago.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Fad Super villain Angar the Screamer is a stereotypical long-haired hippie whose screams cause people around him to hallucinate their worst fear. Although he supposedly started out as a social activist, he mostly used his powers to commit crimes for personal gain.
    • In Runaways, Frank and Leslie Dean initially look like a pair of friendly aging hippies, but are in fact a pair of alien criminals who also happen to be members of the Pride, a combination between a doomsday cult and an organized crime syndicate.
  • The "Father Earth" arc of Judge Dredd has the titular Father Earth (a Plant Person with flowers growing on him) lead a band of mutants and outcasts from the Cursed Earth to attack Mega-City One, deeming it responsible for the state of the world. They succeed in breaching the wall, but they get sidetracked into an area containing alien man-eating plants that hypnotize their prey. Father Earth willingly lets himself be eaten by one, believing it's a god.
  • In Apama - The Undiscovered Animal, Regina is an Ax-Crazy hippie chick who runs a cult-like commune in the forests outside of Cleveland. She's spent the past four decades preparing for the return of the Apama so that she and her followers could fight him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Unsurprisingly, this trope really took off in Exploitation Films around 1969-1971:
    • Angel, Angel, Down We Go (1969) has a hippie rock band move in with a wealthy Hollywood family. The charismatic lead singer of the band seduces the lonely, overweight daughter and then her mother— and arranges for the mother to have a skydiving "accident". Quickly retitled Cult of the Damned after the Manson murders; also one of the last films of Jennifer Jones (who plays the mother), giving it a touch of hagsploitation.
    • The Big Cube (1969) also has a touch of hagsploitation, as it's one of Lana Turner's last films. She plays a wealthy woman whose daughter, under the influence of her hippie boyfriend, decides to speed up her inheritance by gaslighting her with the help of surreptious doses of LSD.
    • The Deathmaster (1972) stars Robert Quarry as a Count Yorga-esque vampire (with long hair) who takes over a group of hippies for his own sinister ends.
    • I Drink Your Blood has a group of asshole Hollywood Satanist hippies assulting people in a small town; the grandson of one victim and the brother of another decide to deliberately infect them with rabies. Definitely an improvement.
    • The Night God Screamed (1971) has a group of Jesus Freak hippies kill a local preacher and then stalk his wife after her testimony gets their leader jailed.
    • Sweet Savior (1971) was a minor exploitation film about a Manson-esque cult, notable as a pre-Troma credit for Lloyd Kaufman as producer (and an extra). Troma would later release it under the title The Love-Thrill Murders.
  • Bad Times at the El Royale: Emily is trying to save her sister Rose from the sinister influence of cult leader Billy Lee (an obvious Manson Expy) but Rose is so brainwashed that she only wants to get back. And when Billy Lee and his followers arrive to get her back, all hell breaks loose.
  • At the end of the eccentric 1970s rural cop movie Electra Glide in Blue, the state trooper protagonist is murdered out of nowhere by two evil hippies in a psychedelic VW microbus.
  • Joe is a deconstruction: while there are low-lives among the hippies (like the ones who steal Joe and Bill Compton's wallets), the real brutality is all from the "straights" Joe and Bill, who commit multiple murder.
  • Jeremiah Sand from Mandy (2018) is a failed folk musician who became the leader of a hippie cult called the "Children of the New Dawn" after experiencing what he claims to be a religious epiphany. Despite using Christian rhetoric and symbols and preaching free love, he is portrayed as a self-absorbed tyrant who controls his followers with psychedelic drugs and practices occult rituals to achieve his goals. The film's main plot kicks off when he kidnaps Red's wife Mandy to forcibly indoctrinate her for no other reason than his own selfish desire for her, and when that doesn't work, he has her burned alive while Red watches helplessly.
  • In Martha Marcy May Marlene, the cult is a commune-like place which (ostensibly) believes in free love and the women are shared with the megalomaniacal male cult leader who uses sex as a ritual and does...something to make sure he "only has boys." They break into a house and kill someone, plus Martha is utterly convinced, and terrified, that they're coming to get her back.
  • In Midsommar, the Harga are technically pagans. However, they live in the Swedish countryside, all share one room, allow themselves to be guided by nature, and participate in public sex rituals. And on top of killing themselves ritualistically, they also lure and ritualistically murder all the tourists due to the festival that happens every ninety years, except Dani.
  • The Omega Man is a downplayed example: the group of albino mutants are not explicitly coded as hippies (their leader, in fact, was a newscaster who snapped after surviving the initial outbreak), but the fact that they call themselves "The Family" is very telling.
  • As Once Upon a Time in Hollywood features Charles Manson and his followers, this is to be expected. Although Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth intervene before they can commit the Tate-LaBianca murders as they did in real life, the menace they pose still hangs over large parts the film.
  • The Wicker Man (1973): The residents of Summerisle are free-love pagans with an affinity for costumes, public sex, and nature. After an entire film of teasing them as child murderers, it turns out the child, Rowan Morrison, was safe. But it was all a ploy to ensnare Sgt. Howie, who they burn alive.
  • It's unclear if Krug and his gang from The Last House on the Left identify as hippies or if they're just shaggy from the road, but they definitely have a Manson family vibe.

  • In The Girls, the hippies adopt the fifteen-year-old Evie and the Charles Manson expy, Russell, manipulates her into sleeping with him and offering her to a record exec for his own career. At times, he slaps and abuses the girls with zero response from the others, they all share clothes, and they end up committing mass murder.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Community episode "Digital Estate Planning", the earliest enemies faced in Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne are hippies that attack the players. They're surprisingly tough for an early enemy. It should be noted that the game was developed through the vision of someone who would find hippies villainous.
  • Subverted in Veronica Mars. When she and Keith need to investigate a Cult-like group a boy from her school got involved with, they learn that the group is populated with animal loving, hard working, peace loving hippie types who are inspiring the boy to be a better person than the Jerkass he was before. Veronica and Keith expect that they have a darker side and it was played very dramatically when Veronica ended up hanging out with them herself, but this isn't the case; the group really is as genuinely kind as they seem, and any danger they presented was all imaginary.
  • The Star Trek: The Original Series episode Star Trek S3 E20 "The Way to Eden" features a group of space hippies who dress barefoot in free-flowing tie-died clothes and flowers, sing folk songs, and are led by the charismatic Dr. Sevrin (a pretty transparent Timothy Leary stand-in). They're a cult in search of the legendary planet Eden, which turns out to be uninhabitable thanks to grass laced with acid, resulting in several deaths.
  • Quatermass presents a hippie-like movement called the Planet People, who are being mind-controlled by a malevolent alien force. Luckily, old people's brains are unaffected by the mind control, so are able to save the Earth from the pernicious influence of hippiedom. This was made in 1979.

  • The Sick Sad World episode "Cult Classics" deals with well-known murderers Charles Manson and Jim Jones. The former founded a free love-style cult and wanted to start a race war. The latter was a preacher and an outspoken supporter of civil rights who descended into power hunger and ended up killing himself and most of his following.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Video Games 
  • Brandon Whittaker from Dead Rising 2 is a member of the C.U.R.E. Zombie Advocate group with the appearance of a Dreadlock Rasta, who goes insane during a zombie outbreak and decides to help the zombies by capturing people and giving them to the zombies to turn them. When Chuck interrupts one of Brandon's attempted turnings and objects to it, Brandon responds by trying to stab him with a large shard of broken glass.
  • Mariska from Lollipop Chainsaw is a member of the Dark Purveyors, a group of Revenant Zombies summoned to San Romero High School from Rotten World by Swan to initiate the Zombie Apocalypse. As her title - "The Queen of Psychedelia" - implies, Mariska is a zombie designed to look and behave like a Granola Girl. She is armed with a sitar and her powers are based around illusions, a reference to the Hippie Movement's propensity for experimental narcotics.
    Mariska: Surrender your body to me, abandon what you call yourself, and rot to your very core...

    Western Animation 
  • Darkwing Duck: In "Heavy Mental", the F.O.W.L. psychic division consists of a disgraced major and two hippies, none of whom have powers. While the hippies aren't aggressive on their own, they're willing to do whatever Major Synapse wants (as long as it lets them avoid latrine duty). After gaining psychic powers from a stolen SHUSH device, they help abduct Darkwing and almost crush him under a block of ice.
  • Played with in the DuckTales (2017) episode "The Lost Harp of Mervana!". When they discover a strange civilization of hippie merfolk, Louie and Beakley immediately jump to the conclusion that they're going to be sacrificed to some monster, king, or god. There is a monster, but the hippies don't even know about it; they're harmless as they are now. The twist is that living underwater in idleness causes merfolk to turn into monsters, and their only escape is to return to the surface and build an actual civilization. As Scrooge lampshades, the episode's moral boils down to "get a job, hippie."
  • The Venture Bros. episode "Viva los Muertos!" features Stock Parodies of the Scooby Gang named "the Groovy Gang". The Groovy Gang were a group of mentally disturbed amateur detectives that travel the world in a van to solve mysteries that may or may not exist. The group consists of the insane, violent-tempered, and self-righteous leader Ted (based on Fred and Ted Bundy), the weak-willed kidnapping victim Patty (Daphne and Patty Hearst), the angry, feminist-extremist lesbian Val (Velma and Valerie Solanas), the paranoid, jittery hippie Sonny (Shaggy and David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz) and the terrifying, possibly possessed dog Groovy (which may just be Sonny hallucinating him talking, Ted with-holding his meds from him). While the Gang purportedly existed to solve mysteries, Ted never seemed to have a clear definition of "mystery", and, in reality, the Gang seemed to make their living by looting the buildings they would break into during their adventures.

    Real Life 
  • As noted above, the Trope Maker that cemented public distrust in hippies was Charles Manson, leader of a cult known as the Manson Family. The Manson Family was composed primarily of young women from middle-class backgrounds, many of whom were radicalized by Manson's teachings, hippie culture, communal living, and a hefty diet of narcotics like LSD. According to group member Susan Atkins, the Family believed that Manson was a manifestation of Jesus and that he had prophesied an imminent, apocalyptic race war — a conflict he named "Helter Skelter", after a song by The Beatles. They gained international attention after the murder of actress Sharon Tate and four others on August 9, 1969. Ironically, most of his fans nowadays aren't hippies, but people on the far-right end of the political spectrum, specifically neo-Nazis of an "accelerationist" bent who believe in overthrowing the system in order to establish their white supremacist utopia, and see Manson's plan as a blueprint for their own.
  • Speaking of misuse of rock & roll, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows" was a line from "Subterranean Homesick Blues" by Bob Dylan. It was claimed by a bunch of bored, upper-middle-class kids who, in 1969, formed a radical splinter from the Students for a Democratic Society, eventually committing at least 25 bombings as the Weather Underground.
  • And, sticking with the rock theme, what has been identified as "the end of the Summer of Love" is the Altamont Free Concert. What was to be the "Woodstock of the West" ended with considerable violence, damage, four deaths, and the end of the days when Americans treated hippies as harmless. And what was to be a straightforward tour documentary of The Rolling Stones turned into the primary evidence of the whole sordid affair, Gimme Shelter. "It's just a shot away," indeed.
  • The Symbionese Liberation Army was mostly hippies, inspired by their "Field Marshal Cinque" to get into premeditated murder, bank robbery, and most infamously, the kidnapping of Patty Hearst.
  • While not a serial killer or a cult leader, Hunter S. Thompson was a revolutionary and instigator, often causing so much trouble in his life that associating him with the free-loving stereotypes of The '60s would be an exercise in futility. Such antics include pranking religious fanatics that lived next door to him in Big Sur by nailing a wild boar's head to their door and decorating its entrails on their car, sending a deer heart and a recording of animal noises to Jack Nicholson as a prank birthday gift (causing Jack — who had a stalker at the time — to hide in his basement until the police arrived), spending over a year with the Hells Angels to write the tell-all book about them that launched his career, being very vocal about his gun collection, and writing many, many colorful soliloquies to describe how much he hated Richard Nixon. The exact number of alleged things on his list of accomplishments that actually happened is still vague to this day.
  • Jim Jones was another infamous figure from the hippie movement, a self-appointed minister and Marxist activist who recruited peace-and-love types to join his cult, the Peoples Temple, eventually establishing the "Jonestown" compound in Guyana. Their horrifying end in a mass murder-suicide — but not before assassinating US Congressman Leo Ryan when he went down there to investigate rumors of a cult — cemented Jonestown as the Trope Codifier for the Apocalypse Cult, not to mention Drinking the Kool-Aid.
  • Rajneeshpuram, a commune built near the small town of Antelope, Oregon, was founded by the eastern spirituality/New Age guru Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh (aka "Osho") and his followers looking to build their own society. They quickly came into conflict with the residents of Antelope, which culminated in a mass food poisoning attack in 1984, meant to incapacitate voters in the nearby city of The Dalles before an election so that Rajneesh's followers could take over the Wasco County Circuit Court and the sheriff's office. They are the subject of a Netflix original documentary series titled Wild Wild Country. These days, the Rajneeshees' former compound has been converted to a Christian summer camp.


Video Example(s):



Mariska is one of the Dark Purveyors, a group of powerful zombies from Rotten World out to cause the apocalypse. Mariska in particular is a hippie zombie with the power of illusions.

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